Next week I will be attending the annual convention for the National Speakers Association. It’s a natural human tendency to compare ourselves to others, especially people in the same field as us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it leads us to discover areas to improve. But when it shifts into envy or jealousy, that’s a problem. I am already bracing myself for the “must be nice” game. In the speaker world, it goes like this:
Of course he gets booked all the time, he’s a former NBA player. Must be nice.
She’s got so many connections from working all those years in the corporate world. Must be nice.
I wish could juggle fire and do backflips like that. Must be nice.
I fall into it myself. I spend too much time noticing all the things I’m not, that I miss the things I am. One theme that drove itself home for me during last year’s convention was my talent as an artist. It’s one of the things I’m really good at, and it’s a skill that very few speakers possess. And yet, although I do incorporate my artistic gifts into my speaking programs and offerings, it’s almost as an afterthought. I have not made it a cornerstone to who I am and what I do, at least to the extent that I probably should.
This small revelation of mine might be patently obvious to you, as it is to many speaker friends that I’ve shared it with. Interestingly, our greatest gifts are often the ones we overlook the most, because we tend to undervalue the things that come easy to us.
And yet, were I to devote the time and attention to making my art an integral part of my unique selling proposition, there would inevitably be those who’d observe me from afar and say, “Of course he’s a successful speaker. Being a great artist is an killer hook and he can make his PowerPoint slides look amazing. Must be nice.”
I have a wife who shares my passion for fighting Adultitis and is very good at communicating with clients and managing travel details. She books all my gigs and all my travel. I’m pretty sure other speakers hate me for that. Must be nice, huh?
Now, the “must be nice” game is not exclusive to the speaking world. In your world, it might look like this:
Of course she is the top performer; she has a ton of contacts. Must be nice.
Everybody likes him because he is a natural born comedian. Must be nice.
She’s tall and athletic and got a free ride to college because she’s a great volleyball player. Must be nice.
He is able to afford a house like that because he’s a carpenter and can do all the labor himself. Must be nice.
Of course they get to travel all the time; they don’t have any kids. Must be nice.
He gets straight A’s and he doesn’t even have to study. Must be nice.
She has all the time in the world to be involved in her kids’ activities; her husband has a great job and she doesn’t have to work. Must be nice.
The “must be nice” we tack on at the end is our backhanded way of voicing our envy and making excuses for ourselves. It’s also a cop-out and a tragic waste of time. Everyone has unique gifts and circumstances and experiences that they can leverage and benefit from.
We all have a “must be nice.” Your job is to quit wishing for someone else’s, figure out what yours is, and make the most of it.
What’s your “must be nice?”
My Must be nice, centers around weightloss and body image. I have always been blessed with a solid body type and even with weightloss God did not design me to be a size 2. So instead of being the best me and the healthiest me I can be, I often fall into the, must be nice mode. Yet, there is a lot about me that is perfect for who I am. And the subject of my, must be nice, has their own insecurities and wants to be different too. Who knows they may be looking at me and thinking, must be nice.
I don’t doubt it, Helen. I think we’d be surprised at the people who’d love to trade spaces with us (or at least part of us :)
Must be nice that you have so much spare time you can spend all day drawing pictures and writing blog posts.
Yet, there’s some truth behind my jest. I often put aside my writing, and my other dreams, to take care of the “more urgent” and “more important” things, especially those that “other people impose upon me”. Sometimes those things truly are more immediately important. Smoke billowing from the kitchen? Stinky toilet water flowing freely into the rest of the house? Friend calling, needing a shoulder to cry on or a ride to the doctor? Sorry, I’m in the middle of writing chapter 17…. But usually my “I don’t have time” is due to a lack of organizing my day and prioritizing what is important to me, and filling my time with non-essentials.
(Side note: it occurs to me that “organizing” and “prioritizing” are two words which have equal potential at either causing or defeating Adultitis.)
Great insights, Geoffrey! And a particularly keen observation on “organizing” and “prioritizing.”
The phrase “everything in moderation” comes to mind…
Michael Cavitt says
You opening reminded my of this blog post. Thought you would want to add a mammoth to your zoo.
I am heading out on June 26th as a long term traveler/suitcase entrepreneur.
Keep up to evangelizing.
Nice. Thanks Michael!
I used compare myself to others. I had extremely low self esteem. Now I sing in public all the time. I stopped comparing myself to others and started singing for God. I have a perfect audience who only cares about how He can bless me. I can’t lose no matter how bad I sound! People come up to me all the time and tell me how good I sounded. I don’t sound good to me – I guess that this fact doesn’t matter. I LOVE to sing. I sing for the children and play my guitar and they love to sing with me. We have a great time “playing music”. I do it just because it makes me happy now… and it does!
What a great example you are…so happy to hear you’ve found your voice!!!